Necromancer Survival - Chapter 24
Again…Like this, he looks his age. Perhaps the maturity or leadership is showing through in his facial lines? It’s not that he looks particularly old….
However, I couldn’t tell him that I thought he was older because he was handsome. Instead, I relaxed and grumbled, “No…Because it’s the first time we’ve met…Since you started speaking formally first, I of course thought….that you were much older than me…” 1
“If you feel the need to adhere to age-based social norms, then you should speak informally.”
“It’s not that I have any particular strong feelings about this…”
Wow…The way he talked reminded me of a bully. I distinctly recalled some faces in my childhood that were incredibly popular with the girls. That same smiling face would coerce me out of my allowance, promising to pay me back someday. Of course, not a single penny was returned…
I was lost in thought with such conflicting thoughts rolling around in my mind. While climbing the stairs, my footing became unstable, and I tripped. Thankfully, Seo Dawon caught me quickly.
However, when I was about to say thank you, I bit my tongue like a fool. I tried to swallow the strange groan I made–the sound that left my throat sounded a bit choked, “Mnngh!”
Seo Dawon, as he pulled on my arm to stabilize me, pointed out, “That’s why you should look where you’re going instead of staring at me.” I had no excuse, so I made sure to stop my eyes from straying to my companion and walked straight ahead.
However, Seo Dawon began to question me, “Hey. Where’s your guild?”
“….I don’t have one.” I said, a bit timidly. This time, I dropped formalities, and Seo Dawon didn’t seem to mind.
“Did you just leave one, or have you never been in a guild before?”
“Who would accept a Necromancer….”
“Then, how long has it been since you’ve arrived at the Hub.”
“About…one year?” While answering, I noticed that Seo Dawon was still holding onto my arm, and I shook it a little. He ignored my weak struggles however, and continued to hold onto me, dragging me up the stairs. I didn’t want to show that I was a loser–I had no immunity to skinship–so I let my arm go limp in his grasp. 2
“Do you have any friends?”
The delicate atmosphere was shattered by the unexpected attack. I thought he was going to bully me, making fun of my way of life, so I asked him sharply, “What?”
Seo Dawon looked at me curiously while frowning. “I’m asking if you have a friend among the Users. If you have friends or guildmates, wouldn’t it be better to hide something like a Servant?”
“You also know that my circumstances are a bit complicated. Hiding my existence would be beneficial for your own safety.”
I quickly calmed down after his patient explanation.
Damn…I was embarrassed at how quickly I lost my temper. I answered, “Okay…”
However, soon after my response, Seo Dawon countered, “Judging from your previous reaction, I guess you don’t have any friends? That’s great.” Before I could give an indignant response, he said, “We’re here.” He finally released my arm; I ended up following his lead without saying anything…
* * *
We arrived at the rear end of a gargoyle mural in the middle of the stairs. From afar, it was definitely a solid wall, but, as we got closer, the mural disappeared. In its place, an automatically lit, creepy hallway appeared.
Whether his original personality was so nonchalant–or whether the dead were all so uncaring of their life–Seo Dawon entered the suspicious hallway without fear. I honestly had no desire to enter this long hallway that seemed like it was plucked straight out of a ghost story. However, there was no choice, and I followed my guide, sticking close to his side.
30 minutes later, Seo Dawon stopped in the middle of his tracks. “It’s here.” Once again, it was time for my palm to suffer through another cut.
I gritted my teeth–one last time, and this ordeal will be over. Suddenly, Seo Dawon snatched the dagger I had been holding, “I’ll do it.”
“It’s fine. I’d rather do it myself….”
I imagined that it would hurt more if I let Seo Dawon handle the wound. However, he didn’t back down, “I’ll do it gently.”
I honestly didn’t believe him, but, frankly, whether it hurt or not…I wanted to finish this search quickly. Goosebumps started to appear along the arm just from feeling the heavy weight of the dagger. Eventually, I handed my hand to him and turned my head away–eyes closed tightly.
He then grabbed my hand, touching the side free of wounds. It felt as if he was tickling my palm, teasing the skin, instead of slitting it with a dagger. Wondering about his strange actions, I opened my eyes and looked at him.
“Such a scaredy-cat, huh? How did you dare enter this dungeon?” Dawon said.
“I said I was getting carried—Ah!!”
Like a nurse tricking a child during vaccinations, he tricked me by focusing his attention on an unrelated patch of skin. He cut with the dagger the moment I answered. The pain was definitely less, but it was a little embarrassing to scream in the middle of our conversation.
While the magic circle rose up from the ground, Seo Dawon pressed his hand onto my stiff head. He stroked my hair, committing atrocities against my innocent hairstyle.
“Why? My hair….!”
“I said, don’t move.”
What’s wrong with him? I endured the rising frustration and waited for the magic circle to fade. As soon as the last “Essence of a Vengeful Ghost” rose aboveground, Seo Dawon finally stopped wildly stroking my head and took his hand off.
He gently retreated and picked up the ‘Essence of a Vengeful Ghost,’ on the floor–that last wedge was given to me. Though I was annoyed, I couldn’t take out my temper on someone’s soul, so I carefully placed it in my inventory. However, this interaction did make me feel like I was the servant to Seo Dawon the Necromancer.
“Is it secured?”
My arm had just left my inventory space when I noticed Seo Dawon’s rigid posture. He was no longer teasing me and, instead, narrowed his eyes towards the entrance of the hallway. Curious, I looked in the same direction, but my eyes didn’t notice anything unusual.
“Is there something there? A monster isn’t going to ambush us….right?”
“It’s not a monster….” Seo Dawon tore his eyes from the horizon and looked at me. His gaze made me nervous.
“Then what is it?” I shivered.
“I think it’s another party?”
Considering the throng of Users who gathered in front of <The Tower of Command> this morning, it wouldn’t be strange to run into another party. Not only in this Dungeon, but party encounters were quite common elsewhere as well. Minor incidents such as fights, mutual aid, or exchange of information occurred frequently….
Unless the government took special control over the Dungeons for various reasons, these sort of incidents were a common occurrence in decently sized dungeons. Therefore, most Users were eager for their party to be the first to arrive at the reward rooms for these large-scale operations.
Because, under certain Dungeon systems, a party may kill the bosses of several different routes faster than the others. Entry into the reward rooms are barred the moment the boss is killed–this phenomenon is referred to as ‘eating a monopoly.’ 3 This situation wasn’t common, but there’s always news every month or so about a single party eating all the rewards for a dungeon.
For that reason, the value of a ‘Treasure Hunter,’ whose job is to guide the party, jumped through the ceiling. Since the door to the reward room could very well shut right in front of their noses, rendering all previous efforts vain, the practice of hiring a competent Treasure Hunter in order to reach the reward room in the shortest amount of time had become commonplace.
Nevertheless, such inter-party disputes were endless. Ultimately, the Korean User Association had begun to announce a system of raid application and schedules, so that party raid times would not overlap.
After a Dungeon route’s boss was defeated, the Dungeon would close for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Any Users inside were also forcibly transported back to the Hub.
Then, when the route reopened, all the traps would be randomly reassigned. All the defeated monsters would be revived; a resurrected monster or boss would not inherit a past incarnations’ memories. In game terms, you could call this a ‘respawn.’ 4
Any boss or named monster typically respawned in 15 to 40 minutes, similar to the normal field monsters in the routes.
When the party that defeated the boss registers the completion of the route in the User Alert app, the information is shared among all Users. Using their total raid time, the application and researchers would infer estimated Dungeon timelines to ensure that all parties can proceed fluidly.
However, the <Tower of Command> had a three year ban on raids, so the opening was incredibly crowded. If the ban was lifted sooner, it would have been unlikely for so many people to flock to the Dungeon all at once.
In any case, the point of this meandering story is that running into other parties in a large Dungeon was a common occurrence. However, in our case, running into others could spell disaster depending on who our opponents were.
I asked Seo Dawon in a low voice, “It is Bae Jaemin?”
TL: I feel you MC~ It’s mega embarassing to fall down stairs bc you were staring at someone lmao.
- Usually, it’s quite polite to speak in formal language to strangers. Once again, this goes into the complex way of deciding age hierarchies. Most same-age friends won’t speak formally to each other.
- The meaning of loser here is difficult. In the original, the word is ‘jjindda.’ Aka, someone who has no friends nor romantic partner and is often alone in the corner of the room all day. It’s also used for people who are touch-starved.
- In korea, eating can colloquially mean taking
- In the original novel, this is called a ‘Regen,’ often commonly referred to as ‘Gen.’ Functionally, the word is the same as respawn. Plus, regen has a different meaning in english game terms, so I’ve replaced it with an english substitute.